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Oakland Crime Rate Steadily Drops As Cops Focus On Violent Offenders, Police Chief Says

OAKLAND (KCBS) — With the exception of armed robberies,  crime in Oakland is down—despite what daily headlines might reflect, according to Oakland Interim Police Chief Sean Whent, who credits the department's focus on the city's worst offenders.

While many Oaklanders remain anxious about smartphone holdups and home break-ins, Whent said the murder rate is actually down by 22 percent.

Oakland Crime Rate Steadily Drops As Cops Focus On Violent Offenders, Police Chief Says

"Year to date, we are at 81 homicides. This time last year, we were about 104—that's significantly lower," he said.

"It's absolutely my goal to come in at under 100 homicides, which would be the first time since 2010 and have roughly 100 more cops than we do now."

Whent said burglaries are down this year, shootings are down 12 percent and even the robbery rate seems to have peaked. It was way up from last year's pace, when Oakland became the robbery capital of the country, but it's up less in recent months.

Whent credits the deployment of five crime-response teams to break up gangs and catch the most violent offenders in East Oakland, individuals that he said also commit much of the crime in other neighborhoods.

"It's having an effect on the violent crime, but what we find is that those groups that do violence upon one another, their day job is committing robberies or doing burglaries. So when we impact their ability to do violence upon another, we also have an impact their ability to do robberies and burglaries—and that's having an effect citywide," he said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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